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Posted On Saturday, 05.14.2011 / 12:09 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

Boston's Bergeron back on the ice

Boston forward Patrice Bergeron, sidelined for the past eight days with a concussion, was on the ice on his own Saturday morning at TD Garden in what coach Claude Julien described as a light skate.

Bergeron is not expected back soon -- he will almost assuredly miss both Saturday night's Game 1 and Tuesday's Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay here at the Garden. Bergeron suffered the concussion, the third of his career, during Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Flyers.
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Posted On Friday, 05.13.2011 / 3:42 PM

By Shawn P. Roarke -  NHL.com Senior Managing Editor /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

No change in Bergeron's status

It's been a full week since Patrice Bergeron suffered his concussion, on a hit from Philadelphia's Claude Giroux in Game 4 of the last round.

However, there remains no timetable for his return, according to Boston coach Claude Julien, who addressed Bergeron's condition after Friday's practice, the final one before Boston begins the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay, with Game 1 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET, Versus, CBC, RDS).
 
"I think he's improving, he really is improving," Julien said. "We're optimistic about him. As Peter (Chiarelli, GM) said, we knew he was going to miss the start of the series, and how much he is going to miss I can't tell you right now. But he is on the right track and we're staying positive.

"Again, I say that every day. I'm not going to say much more because when it comes to concussions, you have good news and you have setbacks and you have all kinds of things that can happen. I'm not going to stand here and change my tune every day except to tell you that right now that's going in the right direction."

Bergeron has not been back on the ice since the hit in Game 4 of the Philadelphia series. Once he is cleared to practice, it likely will take several days before he is allowed to play in a game.
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Posted On Thursday, 05.12.2011 / 2:21 PM

By David Kalan -  NHL.com Staff Writer /NHL.com - 2011 Eastern Conf. Final: Bruins-Lightning Blog

EA SPORTS picks Canucks-Bruins in Final

That mythical perfect March Madness bracket is virtually impossible to achieve, and yet for some reason most of us fill one out anyway. The Stanley Cup Playoffs may not have 68 teams in them with a one-and-done system, but predicting each series in the spring is still highly fickle business.

Even for a computer.

It didn't look like the folks at EA SPORTS were going to have that problem for a while, but eventually the dream had to end. Using their EA SPORTS NHL '11 simulation engine, the video game makers followed up their 8-for-8 first round by nearly tabbing another perfect set, and had Detroit pulled off the incredible Thursday night, they would have had just that. But San Jose's gutsy performance in Game 7 threw a wrench in the mix and gave EA SPORTS its first miss of the postseason.

Fortunately, however, this is no suicide pool, and Simulation Engine is getting a mulligan and a clean slate for the conference finals, particularly after EA SPORTS nearly made good on its prediction of three lower seeds advancing through the second round.

The third round doesn't provide the same kind of daring prognostication, but since EA SPORTS has gone 11-1 so far, questioning the simulation seems foolish, and if EA SPORTS has its druthers, Vancouver and Boston will be meeting to determine who will lift the Stanley Cup in 2011. The Canucks may be facing a San Jose team with an enormous emotional lift after holding off a potentially historic comeback, but according to the computers, Vancouver will overcome a home loss to the Sharks in Game 1 with two straight overtime victories and an eventual Western Conference title in six games.

According to EA SPORTS, the East will be decided in similar fashion, and be a closer series than some might expect, not because of its length but because of its scores. While the Bruins are pegged to grab the Prince of Wales Trophy in six games, two of their wins are slated to come in overtime, with Tampa Bay flashing some sudden-death heroics of its own to stay alive with an overtime win in Game 5 at TD Garden.

EA SPORTS will continue to run simulations after each round of the playoffs, but in addition fans are invited to make their own predictions in the EA SPORTS NHL 2011 Playoff Bracket Contest at www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Participating fans can accrue points for correct predictions with the ultimate prize at the end of Stanley Cup Final of two tickets to the 2012 NHL All-Star Game in Ottawa on the line.

Second Round fan voting opens today at http://www.facebook.com/EASPORTSNHL. Start dates for the Stanley Cup Final voting will be announced at the end of the Conference Finals.

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We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff